The other night I shocked myself by placing dinner on the table at a decent hour, and so we’d bathed and scooped out portions of homemade ice cream into plastic cups before the pressures of bedtime set in.
We dropped dollops of strawberry jam or drizzles of chocolate syrup into our cups and stirred until they’d go down like milkshakes too thick for straws.
It felt like a little piece of heaven, this open space for something so simple.
We threw on sandals and walked out the door for an evening stroll around the neighborhood. No homework or school year bed times, only the cracks of sidewalks, animal sightings and calls to neighbors punctuating steps.
The girls ran down the sidewalk with wet hair and jammies appropriate enough for outside wear, and Lala tired before the others and rode on her Papa’s back.
When we got home, Michael and I took jars of iced decaf onto the front porch, peering around the camellia that needs pruning, so we could watch Sici and J race scooters. J’s reached the age where she can compete a bit with her big sister now, and Sici’s face was covered all joy and anticipation that she’s got herself her very own racing buddy.
Lala played referee and finish line judge and said, “Great job! Don’t give up! You’re doing awesome.” She plucked lavender tops and rubbed them all over her sisters’ faces, then Michael’s and mine, so we could be “refreshed.”
“Doesn’t that feel good?” she asked.
No one bickered. No one got hurt. Everyone still smiled at the end, and I could hardly believe it.
After a dozen runs, J ran inside to scoop handfuls of water from the tap. “You can even smell the lavender on my eyelids!” she called between gulps.
When she turned off the water, I took a big dramatic sniff of her face and my nose filled with little person sweat mingled body wash, sun, fresh air.
“Mmmmm” was all I said. “Mmmmm.”